Daily Archives: March 14, 2013

Bonus: Woodcock Walk, Monday March 18

 Woodcock 2
Want to hear (and hopefully see) American Woodcocks peenting and possibly displaying?

The Meadowlands Commission and the Bergen County Audubon Society are holding a free bonus walk next Monday (March 18) at Laurel Hill in Secaucus.

We'll meet in the ballfields parking lot at Laurel Hill at 6:45 p.m., or you can meet in DeKorte Park's visitor's parking lot and follow the NJMC's Jim Wright — he'll be leaving DeKorte promptly at 6:15 p.m. The walk should end a little after dusk.  Dress for the weather — it can get especially cold and windy along the river!

We will also look for the Laurel Hill ravens, the Black-crowned Night Herons and any other interesting birds we can find.

Directions to Laurel Hill are on the left-hand side of this blog.

Check meadowblog.net for last-minute weather updates. You will have to sign a standard liability release that is good for NJMC/BCAS events throughout the year (if you haven't done so already).  To rsvp, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at greatauk4@aol.com or 201-230-4983.

(And a thanks to Chris Takacs for the Woodcock photo above!)

South Bergenite Column: The Observatory

Jim Wright, who keeps this blog, also writes a twice-monthly nature column for the South Bergenite. His latest is an interview with Dr. John Sloan (above left) and J.J. Rusher of DeKorte Park’s McDowell Observatory.

One of the under-appreciated gems of the Meadowlands Commission’s DeKorte Park is the William D. McDowell Observatory, which offers free star-gazing to the public two nights a week.

I recently interviewed Dr. John Sloan (referred to as JS below), the observatory’s chief astronomer, and his colleague J.J. Rusher (referred to as JJ below) to find out what’s happening under the dome.

  The observatory officially opened five years ago this month, and has been very successful. What’s been your biggest challenge of late?
  JS: More than four months after Hurricane Sandy, some people out there still don’t know the observatory is open. People see signs that the park itself is closed some of the time and get confused. Our message is that the observatory is open every Monday and Wednesday night from 8 to 10 for public viewing, conditions permitting, and we’d love to have you come on by.

You also have a pretty cool program on some Friday nights, too, don’t you?
  JJ: Yes — the program is called “Re-friend Your Telescope,” and it’s designed for people who maybe received a telescope as a gift and never took it out of a box, or they used their telescope a long time ago and it’s been gathering dust in their attic, and they want to be reintroduced on how to set up and operate the telescope and use the eyepieces.

The interview continues below.

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